Homework 0

(Due on the first class on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016)
I expect all students to have an initial familiarity with the more common Linux (UNIX) system calls in the C language before the first class of CS 5600 (before Mon., Jan. 11). This homework is intended to establish the intended familiarity with the Linux/UNIX operating system and will help students to get started with HW1 (to be assigned during the first class on Jan. 11).

  1. Have a Linux based system accessible. There are several options:
    1. Use the CCIS Linux machines. You can find more information about CCIS Linux support including remote access at: http://howto.ccs.neu.edu/howto/unixlinux/
    2. Install a Linux distribution on your personal computer. On Windows computer, one can enable dual booting for this purpose. On Apple computers, dual booting is possible, but is slightly trickier (see option "c" below).
    3. Install a Linux virtual machine on your Windows or Mac computer. For Windows computers, one can use VirtualBox (freely available) VMware Workstation (freely available for download via the Software Downloads link on the myNEU portal).
    Sometimes the CCIS machines might not be available and so it's highly recommended to go with either option (b) or (c).

  2. Familiarize with the Linux shell and command line. There are several online tutorials and guides. See for example the tutorials listed on: http://howto.ccs.neu.edu/howto/unixlinux/learning-linux/

  3. If you are not using the CCIS machines, install the "gcc" compiler on your Linux installation or the Linux virtual machine.
    • For Debian/Ubuntu Linux distribution, use:
      sudo apt-get install build-essential
    • For Fedora, use:
      sudo dnf group install 'Development Tools'
    • For OpenSUSE, use:
      sudo zypper install -t pattern devel_basis

  4. Compile a simple "hello world" C program on Linux using the "gcc" compiler and execute it.

    You can compile the program using:
    gcc hello.c

    This generates an executable 'a.out', which can be executed using:

  5. Familiarize with the more common Linux system calls in the C language. This prerequisite also includes a knowledge of C pointers. These include: fork/execvp/waitpid, open/close, read/write/dup, and malloc/free. In each case, you can find a detailed description by studying the man pages. For example, 'man 2 open' on the command line will describe everything about the call to `open()`. You can then experiment with the system calls in your C program.

    There are several good tutorials on systems programming in C. Some possibilities are: